Convention parade traces history

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Parade visits key sites in Kansas, Mennonite history

Two motorcycles and 16 cars decorated with maroon and gold streamers and ribbons participated in the Convention Parade, an event that celebrated Mennonite history and served as a transition from the location of the Pastors’ Conference in downtown Wichita, Kan., to the Tabor College campus in Hillsboro, Kan.

Peggy Goertzen, director of the Tabor College Center for MB Studies, served as tour guide. Her educational and entertaining stories at the Walton historical marker, Peabody train station and Ebenfeld MB Church were contagiously enthusiastic and showed a detailed knowledge of Mennonite history. Goertzen told of the Russian Mennonite immigration to the U.S., of the important role their Turkey Red winter wheat played in U.S. agriculture and of the establishment of various Mennonite Brethren church communities in the Hillsboro area.

U.S. Conference executive director Ed Boschman and Wichita pastor Steve Fast led the parade on motorcycles, followed by Leadership Board vice chair Brian Classen and his wife, Tami, in their red convertible. The parade gained additional participants at the Peabody stop, where participants were served fresh zweiback, a double-decker bun that in a dried form served as a staple for the immigrants when they crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The parade concluded at the Tabor College Historic Church, the first home of Hillsboro MB Church and the first home of Tabor College.

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